Black women are diversifying and excelling in Olympics, but much of the coverage has demeaned and minimized their accomplishments. This coverage exemplifies the almost impossible standards that are placed on women of African decent. Double gold medal winning gymnast Gabby Douglas is iratic with bad hair and her mother is represented as a single mother (instead of divorced) with out of control spending problems. Haters say Lolo Jones used her looks to cover up her lack of talent. Serena Williams was attacked by right wing pundits for promoting “gangsterism” in her victory dance, she and her sister Venus, British heptathlon gold medalis, Jessica Ennis are “too fat.” Despite the historic U.S. Jamaica track rivalry the women of Team USA like largely a second though except when it comes to allegations of doping thrown at Carmelita Jeter Others like the fencing team’s Nzingha Prescod and silver medalist in Taekwondo Paige McPherson are simply forgotten. Rush Limbaugh, who is known for his unhealthy obsession with the FLOTUS, used the criticism of Gabby’s hair to go on a rant about how fat black women are. Pot.Kettle.Limbaugh.
The joke that black women don’t swim. The truth is swimming takes resources and access. This olympics is proving that trope is changing. Bronze medalist 17-year old Lia Neal was the second African American, but more press has been devoted to other swimmers who did not medal. Neal, is also a spokes woman for an organization that introduces children of color to swimming and water safety, how many swimmers devote time out of their buy schedules to do that? Neal attends Convent of the Sacred Heart High School on a swimming scholarship. It’s the same school that Lady Gaga went to. She’s also part of an elite swim team at Asphalt Green on 91st Street in Manhattan. Lia who has virtually punched her ticket to any college and future opportunities she wants, goes back to her senior year of high school in the fall. Neal will have college and four years of training before the Rio Games and I know that Lia will be harder to ignore in 2016.
In Beijing 2008, at age 16, Jennifer Abel became one of the youngest divers in Canadian history to secure a berth and represent her country at the Olympic Games. Abel and her partner Emilie Heymans won a bronze medal at the 3-meter springboard synchronized dive competition at this year’s games. A Laval, Quebec native of Haitian descent started diving in 1996 and made her first senior international appearance in 2006 in at the Senior Grand Prix in Spain. In 2008, she earned a silver medal collected a pair of bronze medals on the FINA Grand Prix circuit the following year. She became the 2010 Commonwealth Games champion in both the 1 m springboard and the 3 meter synchronized springboard with, a college student, trains at the Olympic Pool in Montreal and holds the Canadian national record in 3-meter synchronized springboard. After the medal ceremony, Abel said the feeling of winning an Olympic medal had not yet sunken in. “Since the beginning of the year we’ve been really nervous about that moment,” she said. “I think it takes time to just calm down and just realize it.”
Water Polo is seen as exclusively white, upper class sport. Krystina Alogbo, the team captain of the women’s Canadian water polo team is changing that perception. Although the team did not make the final cut for this year’s Olympics (only eight teams compete in the tournament) , Krystina lead her team to back to back silver medal performances during the summer of 2009 at the World League Super Final and the FINA World Aquatic Championships earning MVP honours in the later.Growing up in the rough community of St-Michel in Montreal, Quebec. Alogbo lost her brother in a drug related shooting. Alogbo found salvation in sports. She has a passion for the water polo and referees children’s games in Montreal where she has had a big influence in attracting a more ethnically diverse group to the game.
I am reblogging this great article from my good G+ friend T. F. Chatterton:
The reports of Black women hating on Gabby Douglas’s hair have been greatly exaggerated. Articles claiming that Black women have fixated on Gabby’s hair have sparked the usual discussion about White beauty norms, hair politics, and internalized racism. But is it reallyBlack women who are obsessed with Gabby Douglas’ hair, or the media?
The idea that sisters are paying “more attention to her hair than her gold medals” is exactly the image of dysfunctional, belligerent Black women that the media loves. In the understandable rush to defend Gabby from critics, we’ve overlooked that this narrative is being pushed by racist, sexist media that can’t be trusted to report accurately on Black women’s opinions on just about anything. There’s very little evidence that hair is a priority when it comes to Black women’s feelings about Gabby Douglas.
This story can be traced back to one blog post quoting all of three disparaging comments, that Jezebel slapped a few more tweets on as proof of a trend. Everyone from NPR to the LA times has since weighed in, all seemingly basing their analysis on the Jezebel piece and a small sample of tweets. Outlets have specifically searched for negative tweets about Gabby, probably overlooking many more celebratory comments. We should question whether the coverage reflects an actual trend, or confirmation bias creating a news story out of a few isolated fools being mean on the internet. It’s possible that the real viral story here is the original piece and the media furor it’s spawned. Read More
According to the Black Women’s Health Study (conducted by Boston University), young black women who are obese or heavy through the hips were less likely to become pregnant:
Fecundity [the ability to reproduce] was significantly reduced in a dose-response fashion for women who were overweight, obese and very obese after adjustment for age, education, smoking history, alcohol intake, physical activity, parity, region, and waist-to-hip ratio.
A large waist-to-hip ratio, also was significantly associated with lower fecundity, with fecundity ratios less than 1 indicating reduced fecundity or longer time to pregnancy (TTP).
“Overall and central [obesity] are associated with reduced fecundability in black women,” Lauren Wise, Sc.D., said at the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research.
Women athletes have not had an easy path either. In the early years of the modern Olympics, women were not well represented. Women participated for the first time at the 1900 Paris Games with the inclusion of women’s events in lawn tennis and golf. Women’s athletics and gymnastics debuted at the 1928 Olympics. The implementation of Title 9 in 1972, provided American women with the opportunities and resources to compete in the Olympics on a much wider basis. In 2012, women’s boxing was introduced, resulting in no remaining sports that do not include events for women. Even Muslim women are experiencing a growing inclusion as three Islamic countries (Qatar, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia) sent female athletes to the 2012 games.
Even though African American women shoulder both racial and gender burdens, they have made amazing strides in events that have been seen previously as “white” or “male” events. These accomplishments has not come without criticism. Although Althea Gibson broke the race barrier in professional tennis in 1947, Olympic medalists and tennis superstars. Gabby Douglas has won two gold medals at the 2012 Olympics. She competed in all four events, garnered Venus and Serena Williams face criticism about their bodies, playing styles and femininity 33% of points that led Team USA to the gold and wiped out the Russian competition to win the top spot in the Women’s All Around competition. 16 year old Gabby left her family and friends in Virginia Beach to train in Iowa with Olympic coach Liang Chow. Her mother sold her jewelry and worked overtime to finance Gabby’s training and lodging. Instead of congratulating the young phenomenon on her historic accomplishment, internet troll took to the twitterosphere with comments about her hair!The numerous accomplishments of other black female Olympic pioneers have been marginalized by the media. Swimmer Lia Nealwon the bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and also helped set a new U.S. record in the event. Neal, who is also a spokes woman for an organization that introduces children of color to swimming and water safety, has received very little press coverage as the second black woman to qualify for the U. S. Olympic Swim Team. She is only 17 years old and a high school senior. I expect Ms. Neal will be harder to ignore in 2016. Paige McPherson 21, defeated 2004 silver medalist, Nia Abdallah, to earn a spot on the 2012 Taekwondo Olympic Team. Paige, who attends Miami Dade College was raised in Sturgis, South Dakota in a multi-ethnic family of adopted children. Paige will begin competing on August 10th.
Many would be suprised to know that black women have a long history in the elite sport of fencing.Nzingha Prescod, an economics major at Columbia University, follows in the footsteps of Nikki Franke, a member of the 1976 and 1980 U.S. Olympic fencing teams by scoring a berth on the 2012 team. The team, the youngest in American Olympic history placed sixth in team competition but coach but Coach Amgad Khazbak said he is looking forward to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games where he believes Team USA could be a contender for the gold. So next time moron spouts nonsense about the athletic superiority of certain racial groups or gender tell them about achievements these barrier breaking ladies!
Sylvia Woods founded one of Harlem’s most famous restaurants in 1962. Located at at 328 Lenox Avenue (Lenox and 127th Street), the restaurant’s clientele ranges from Harlem locals to celebrities and statesmen like Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Caroline Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Magic Johnson and Barack Obama. The food at Sylvia’s is so good that even racists like Bill O’Reilly enjoy the cuisine. Bill O’Reilly racist meandering withstanding, it is the food that has kept customers coming for decades. Check out the Travel Channel’s Adam Richman’s visit to Sylvia’s for some of Ms. Moore’s world famous chicken & hospitality
Track & Field record holder, Caster Semenya has been prodded & poked, castigated and shamed for the past few years. She has been forced to take female hormones in order compete on a world class level. She deserves this honor for undergoing this Venus Hottentot level of examination with dignity. I for one will be putting national loyalties aside and cheer for her in the 800 meter competition beginning August 6th.
Not my usual post but I though this was interesting.
Aug. 13, 2010
Sons who have fond childhood memories of their fathers are more likely to be emotionally stable in the face of day-to-day stresses, according to psychologists who studied hundreds of adults of all ages.
Psychology professor Melanie Mallers, PhD, of California State University-Fullerton presented the findings August 12 at the 118th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.
“Most studies on parenting focus on the relationship with the mother. But, as our study shows, fathers do play a unique and important role in the mental health of their children much later in life,” Mallers said during a symposium focusing on social relationships and well-being.
For this study, 912 adult men and women completed short daily telephone interviews about that day’s experiences over an eight-day period. The interviews focused on the participants’ psychological and emotional distress (i.e., whether they were depressed, nervous, sad, etc.) and if they had experienced any stressful events that day. These events were described as arguments, disagreements, work-related and family-related tensions and discrimination.
The participants, who were between the ages of 25 and 74, also reported on the quality of their childhood relationships with their mother and father. For example, they answered questions such as, “How would you rate your relationship with your mother during the years when you were growing up?” and “How much time and attention did your mother give you when you needed it?” The same questions were asked about fathers. The research controlled for age, childhood and current family income, neuroticism and whether or not their parents were still alive.
Participants were more likely to say their childhood relationship with their mother was better than with their father, with more men reporting a better mother-child relationship than women, according to Mallers. People who reported they had a good mother-child relationship reported 3 percent less psychological distress compared to those who reported a poor relationship.
“I don’t think these results are surprising, given that past research has shown mothers are often the primary caregiver and often the primary source of comfort,” said Mallers. “It got interesting when we examined the participants’ relationship with their fathers and their daily emotional reaction to stress.”
Men who reported having a good relationship with their father during childhood were more likely to be less emotional when reacting to stressful events in their current daily lives than those who had a poor relationship, according to her findings. This was not found to be as common for the women in the study.
Also, the quality of mother and father relationships was significantly associated with how many stressful events the participants confronted on a daily basis. In other words, if they had a poor childhood relationship with both parents, they reported more stressful incidents over the eight-day study when compared to those who had a good relationship with their parents.
Mallers theorized why healthy or unhealthy relationships may have an effect on how people handle stress as adults. “Perhaps having attentive and caring parents equips children with the experiences and skills necessary to more successfully navigate their relationships with other people throughout childhood and into adulthood,” she said.
She added it was difficult to come up with a concrete theory as to why men’s relationship with their father had such an influence on their emotional reaction to stress, especially since this study included adults of all ages who were raised during very different eras in the United States.
“The role of fathers has changed dramatically from the time the oldest participants were children,” added Mallers. “We do know that fathers have a unique style of interacting with their children, especially their sons. We need more research to help us uncover further influences of both mothers and fathers on the enduring emotional experiences of their children.”
Christine Bork@Huffington Post
In the current economic climate, we can see more clearly the wealth gap that exists between women in different racial/ethnic communities, as inequalities that have historically hammered communities of color are amplified. The result of this racial segregation of poverty is stark– 29 percent of households headed by white women with children live in poverty, compared to 43 percent of African-American women and 46 percent of Latina women.
Factors such as industry sector, wage growth, access to health care benefits, and even zip code contribute to a woman of color’s ability to accumulate enough to support her family. Without critical wealth and/or asset building opportunities, families of color are relegated to living paycheck to paycheck, edging one step closer to financial ruin when they encounter job loss or an illness.
Wealth and poverty both accumulate over time, growing exponentially with each passing generation. According to a report from the Brookings Institute, white children are more likely to surpass parents’ income than black children at a similar point in the income distribution. In the United States, the top 10% owns approximately 76% of all wealth; under this structure, the children of wealth will continue building and accumulating it, while the children of those who are unable to accumulate wealth will likewise grow poorer.
If we want to invest in our community’s future, we must find a way to give all women what they need to support their families responsibly across generations.
From Essence.com with editional commentary by your truly
Snoop Dogg recently announced that he owes it to his women fans to move forward producing more “female-friendly” records. Over his illustrious 18 years as a gangsta rapper, Snoop has agreed that making songs that objectify and exploit women are just not that cool anymore. I guess he finally realized that he was talking about his wife and daughter.
Emcees releasing female-friendly rap songs are few and far between, and it’s still the status quo in rap to hear the words, “b-tch” and “ho.” However, instead of beating a dead horse and focusing on the negative, we decided to give shout outs to the 10 rappers over the years that have glorified and shown appreciation and respect to Black women. It is sad that Hip Hop is over 30 years old Essence.com could only find 10 songs and most of them are old school or alternative rappers. What does that say about the current rap game?
Dear Mama – Tupac
Tupac reminded us all of the struggles of single Black mothers, and how much of a responsibility it is to be a mother, period. That no matter how great or terrible we may have thought our moms to be, there’s no one who deserves our appreciation and respect more than a strong Black mother.
“I’ll Be There for You,” Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige
Still living the fast life, the gritty Method Man recognizes on this track he has a woman that will ride or die for her man. And, instead of taking her long lasting love for granted or manipulating her loyalty, he knows she has become all he needs to get by.
“Black Girl Pain,” Talib Kweli
As a father, conscious rapper Talib Kweli offers Black little girls everywhere a daddy’s love on this track. He uses the song to help others realize the importance of watching over our young Black women, and treating them like princesses so they grow one day to be queens.
Womanology,” KRS One
In this song, the old school rapper preaches on the way women and men act toward each other. If men want a women that treats them right, it begins with the man taking responsibility and treating the women like the Queen she was intended to be.
This Southern rapper created a catchy hook, spelling out the word independent to show his appreciation for the females who have their own thing going on. Women who work hard to take care of themselves, stay fly, and are able to earn their own money, urging the ladies who lack ambition and drive to “sit down.”
U Make Me Wanna,” Jadakiss ft. Mariah Carey
Jadakiss respects the woman who respects the hustle. In a relationship that had a rocky start, he sings praises to the woman who endured it all and stuck with him, appreciating a love that has also become a deep rooted friendship.
Like he mentioned, Snoop has released a few “bits and pieces” of songs that show he isn’t a total sexist. On this track Snoop reminisces over the feeling of first meeting his “favorite girl,” and revels in her beauty both on the inside and outside.
The Light,” Common
Framed as a love letter, Common confesses his love for a woman in the most tender way. He affectionately explained why if you are a real man the word bitch is no name for a woman, and the how the reflection of light in woman is warmth for a man.
“Keep Ya Head Up,” Tupac
And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, and our game from a woman, I wonder why we take from our women? Why we rape our women? Do we hate our women? I think it’s time to kill for our women. Time to heal our women, be real to our women.” The lyrics say it all.
Can you add to the list?
I will add Round the Way Girl by L.L. Cool J. and Brooklyn Queens by Third Bass
By Mary Ann Roser/AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Saturday, July 31, 2010
How a woman experiences menopause in the U.S. might have a lot to do with her race or ethnicity, according to a recently published University of Texas study. White, African American, Hispanic and Asian women all report different experiences with their physical symptoms as well as their attitudes toward menopause — and culture is a big reason why, said lead researcher Eun-Ok Im, a UT professor of nursing.
But other factors, including biology, education, overall health and socioeconomic status, could be influential, according to the study published in July in the Western Journal of Nursing Research, as well as other research. “More in-depth cultural studies are needed to understand the reasons for the ethnic difference in menopausal symptom experience,” the paper says.
Im’s work is based on an Internet survey of 512 women in those four ethnic/racial groups between the ages of 40 and 60. It is part of a larger five-year study funded by a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Im said. In general, her team found that certain menopause symptoms bother some groups greatly; others, not so much. For example, hot flashes were cited as a symptom by 67.8 percent of African American women, 64.4 percent of white women and 52.5 percent of Hispanic women. Only 26.1 percent of Asian women reported having hot flashes.
Researchers don’t know why Asian women have fewer hot flashes, said Im, who is of Korean heritage. But ingesting soy products for years before menopause and generally having less body fat could be factors, said Dr. Margery Gass, a gynecologist and executive director of the North American Menopause Society, a nonprofit that educates the public and professionals about menopause.
Asians’ body mass index “is way below everyone else’s,” said Gass, who said Im’s paper was well-done and a welcome addition to the research on ethnic differences in menopause. Weight gain was cited as a menopause symptom by 54.6 percent of black women and 50.8 percent of Hispanic women in the study. It was mentioned by 45 percent of white women and 33.3 percent of Asian women in the paper. Declining interest in sex was cited more often by Hispanic and Asian women.
Overall, white women in the study were more likely to complain of menopause symptoms. Of the 41 listed symptoms, they cited 31 the most frequently, including neck and skull aches, racing heartbeat, ankle swelling, exhaustion or fatigue, difficulty sleeping, urination at night, feeling clumsy, depression, anxiousness, difficulty concentrating and grouchiness.There also were commonalities. Women, regardless of ethnicity, reported feeling hot or cold most often, with forgetfulness being the second most common symptom, the paper said.
Im published a paper in Nursing Research this year involving the same 512 women and their attitudes about menopause. Minority women, in particular, said their culture had discouraged them from complaining.
“As African American women, we are always expected to be strong women who aren’t supposed to whine about anything,” one black woman was quoted as saying. “You just take life as it comes and do what you have to do. If you are having troubles or problems, you should just pray about it and keep going. I don’t think that my culture believes that menopausal symptoms are something that you would have to run to the doctor.”
That paper said that the women in all four groups tried to see menopause as a natural part of life and face it with optimism and humor. Im said she was surprised to see that attitude showing up in most of the white women, who had in the past tended to see menopause as a dreaded loss of youth.Some gynecologists say they see that shift in their own practices.”The mindset has changed,” said Dr. Sherry Neyman, an Austin obstetrician/gynecologist for 14 years. More white women “would like to go through a more natural menopause and not seek drugs as a first line of therapy.” She sees that in patients of other ethnic groups, too.
The study says that only those with the most serious symptoms took medication and that most of the women managed menopause in other ways: “Interestingly, many NH (non-Hispanic) Asians adopted mind control strategies such as ‘trying to be optimistic’ and ‘trying to calm down’ to manage symptoms. “Im notes that because the study was based on Internet questionnaires, women with comparatively lower levels of income and education were underrepresented.
That makes it hard to generalize the results to the population, said Gass, the menopause society chief. But, she said, “this type of research certainly gives a very good idea of what is happening and alerts clinicians to the fact that various contextual items play a role” in how women experience menopause.